Ombudsman Program

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is mandated by the U.S. Administration on Aging to advocate for and protect the rights of residents of nursing and assisted living facilities. Adult Services and Aging Specialists serve as advocates for facility residents and investigate and work towards the resolution of their complaints. Ombudsman Services are provided at no cost to the resident or facility.

The program also provides information and referral assistance, conducts educational activities to increase community awareness of elder rights and provides training to long-term care and staff. All reports and inquiries are confidential.

Ombudsman Role

  • Advocacy
    • Negotiate with facility staff.
    • File complaints on behalf of residents.
    • Work with the resident council.
    • Organize residents with common concerns.
  • Mediation
    • Work with facility staff.
    • Work with community agencies.
    • Work with other residents.
    • Work with family members.
  • Investigation
    • Investigates complaints and grievances.
    • Pursues resolutions through agencies that can help such as medical providers, social service agencies, government agencies, and legal services.
  • Education
    • Educate residents, families, friends and potential consumers about rights and responsibilities.
    • Educate and train facility staff on issues involving the rights of residents.

Eligibility

Services are provided to persons:

  • Without regard for income and resources.
  • Requested by an individual or on behalf of an individual.
  • Available to a person who resides in a long term care facility.
  • Available to a person attempting to enter a facility.

Facilities Covered by the Ombudsman Program

  • Nursing Facilities
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Licensed Adult Foster Care Homes
  • Private Pay Board and Care Homes
  • Homes Registered through the Department of Health
  • Pierce Unit at the Human Services Center

Resident's Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights for Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities is located here: Chapter 44:04:17. These rights include:

  • Facility to inform residents of rights.
  • Facility to provide information on available service.
  • Notification when resident's condition changes.
  • Notification of change in room assignment.
  • Right to manage financial affairs.
  • Choice in care planning.
  • Privacy and confidentiality.
  • Quality of life.
  • Grievances.
  • Availability of survey results.
  • Right to refuse to perform services.
  • Self-administration of medications.
  • Admission, transfer and discharge policies.

You can view handbooks containing the Resident's Bill of Rights for Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities online.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also provides a Bill of Rights for Long-Term Care Facilities. These rights can be found in the Guide to Choosing a Nursing Home.  

Contact Information

Area Ombudsmen receive, investigate and seek to resolve complaints from, or on behalf of, residents of long-term care and residential facilities. The State Ombudsman is responsible for training local Ombudsman, providing technical assistance and providing the overall leadership for the program.